Posted by: atowhee | April 22, 2017


Some photos to honor Earth Day and a nod to the critical need for scientific understanding in opposition to those fools who think they can make decisions based on faith…or profit.
Female hummer makes her feeder moves:AH-AIR1AH-AIR2AH-AIR3AH-AIR4AH-AIR5AH-AIR6AH-AIR8

ACORN WOODPECKERSAW-FDR1AW-FDR2Here is one granery branch being used by the colony of Acorn Woodpeckers at 13th and Michelbook in McMinnville.AW-GRANAW-GRAN2

RAPTORSAKRTH CIRCLRTH LOOK DWNKestrel at the top, then two Red-tail blurs.

It is experimental science that has let us come to recognize how smart these corvids are.


S-S PEEKSS-T PEEKSSong Sparrow on top, Spotted Towhee below, both at Joe Dancer Park.

Below: Bewick’s Wren singing along Cozine Creek.  Then Robin gathering nesting material from street and Violet-green Swallow along Old Sheridan Road.



Not Birds:IMG_3376mintMINT2Scouring rushes sprout, forming a miniature conifer forest along the edge of Baker Creek Road, not far from Dipperary seen in earlier blog.rshes

Posted by: atowhee | April 21, 2017


“It’s not a long way to Dipperary,
It’s not a long way to go…”
–Two lines of hitherto unrecorded patriotic birding song


Two adult Dippers were up and down the section of Baker Creek that centers on the highway bridge that is just on the townside of 20180 Baker Creek Road (west of McMinnville). It was about 3:30PM on a perfect day of sun and no wind. A peek beneath the bridge confirms that there is once again this year a nest on the underside.  It could be the dippers have nestlings already as both were out hunting, or it may simply be warm enough that the female could take some time away from eggs. That’s what I thought to myself, before all evidence was in. This species is an early nester so we may expect fledglings any time in the coming weeks.  If anybody spots the young, let me know.  The adults actually have to use food to lure the young dippers in to the water. They don’t immediately take to it like ducks or grebes, revealing their wren-like landlubber ancestors. That’s a fascinating process to watch.

I love digital cameras…I get home, look at shots and see that one of the Dippers had a mouthful of food, collecting for the nestlings.  Dippers don’t carry food around for themselves, only for young birds back home.dippr fddppr fddppr fd2dppr flydppr fly2dppr fly3dppr fly4

Also the toxic salamanders are back in their quiet pool at Ed Grenfell Park.  Look, don’t touch. Also there I saw a pair of Wood Ducks paddling about a quiet farm pond.  If you go to the far southeast corner of Grenfell and look over the fence, the pond is only about fifteen yards away.  They were paddling about.  But danger lurker.  A Great Blue Heron was hunting along the edge of the pond…and herons relish little hatchling Wood Ducks so I hope the female Wood Duck nests elsewhere.wd-mailwd pairdMRS WOOD


Posted by: atowhee | April 20, 2017


Here are three fine photos from birder Sharon Sweeney.  First the Great Horned Owl seen on yesterday Linfield College bird walk, then a hang-about Turkey Vulture putting on a good show at Evergeen Vineyard.shrn ghoshrn tvshrn tv2

Posted by: atowhee | April 20, 2017


Swallows, swifts and warblers moving through town after the rains this afternoon. One flock over the South Yamhill River at Joe Dancer Park included four species of swallow plus at least two Vaux’s Swifts, all hawking insects over the treetops.SWLOI know, lousy shot.  You try getting shot of flying swallows straight up with a point-n-shoot.  SO I alleviated my frustration by shooting bigger, slower birds:TVXTVX-4TVX-5You may not envy their diet, but you gotta admire the way they soar, big wings with minimal weight load…and a spot of sun in the afternoon.  TVX-GANG

The breeze was off and on, each time it increased a little small waves of cherry blossom petals would waft along the ground or across the park’s parking lots.  The wind was a petal pusher.

Joe Dancer Park, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Apr 20, 2017 3:15 PM – 4:00 PM.  18 species

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  6
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
Vaux’s Swift (Chaetura vauxi)  2
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  3     calling
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)  6
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  X
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)  2
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  2
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  1–calling
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  10
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Orange-crowned Warbler (Oreothlypis celata)  2
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  3–singing
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  1
Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus)  1     singing

Posted by: atowhee | April 20, 2017


Dutch scientists may have found the most popular language on earth… not English, not even bird song. It’s silent scentful plant communication, specifically terpenes.

Posted by: atowhee | April 20, 2017


APR20-GG0 Nestcam, Montana Mountains
line to cam:

8:52 AM Pacific Time.  Sharp call notes indicate an irritated Hairy Woodpecker nearby.  8:56 Hairy Woodpecker still sounding off nearby.  Female owl settles down on eggs after a feather shuffle.  It is a bright, sunny day there in Montana’s mountains.  8:57  Flicker calls; cranes bugling in far meadow.  8:58 Robin whinnies.  9:17 RB Nuthatch tooting his little tin horn.  Flicker calling again.  9:21 Crane bugling now.  Purple Finch singing not far from camera’s microphone.  Owl settled, looking around in nonchalant way.   9:55.  36 degrees, clear, windless there at nest site, 5000’ above sea level.  Female owl facing camera leans down and uses beak to re=arrange nest materials.  Then fluffs her feathers and settles back atop the eggs. Her long, flexible tail feathers (about 12 inches long of her 26 inch length) are arched back up against the far wall of the nest cavity.  9:57  Syncopated drumming of the RB Sapsucker heard.  9:58 Hairy Woodpecker loudly calling with sharp single notes.  Must be overhead as this is second time female owl has half-heartedly looked up over her left shoulder for the source of the annoying sound.  “Won’t that damned little woodpecker shut up so I can sleep.” 10:00 AM  Nashville Warbler singing not far from camera. Nuthatch sounding, not to be out-done by anyone.

11:46 AM  Temp is still 36 degrees, sunny. Air is still still.  Raven croaks very near camera site.  Purple Finch warbling not far off, likely from a treetop. Nashville Warbler still singing.  Mrs. Owl facing camera, eyes closed. All seems well with the world.  11:51 Raven croaks again, very near.  Distant woodpecker pecking on tree, drilling not drumming. Human voices off at the meadow.  Purple Finch calling constantly, not very near now.  Second, distant raven answers the near one, croak for croak.  11:55 Raven continues to rage.  Some woodpecker or nuthatch is drilling nearby, unseen.  Purple Finch relentless.  11:57 Crane joins the mid-day chorus.

High Noon.  Hairy Woodepecker very loud and  very agitated and very near.

Posted by: atowhee | April 19, 2017


April 19.

5PM Pacific Time   RB Nuthatch comes into frame on left side, honking the whole time, hangs around making noise.  Owl snoozes.  Far off a flicker calls.  Twenty minutes ago there was a loud RN Sapsucker, first drumming, then calling. 5:05PM Somewhere nearby a woodpecker is drilling a hole. 5:15 PM Woodpecker still at work on hole.  Female owl moving her head around, as she face s to the left side of the nest cavity.  RB Nuthacth near again, honking.  5:31 Flicker near the microphone gives single sharp call.  Mrs. Owl wide awake and alert.  5:32 PM Owl stands up, shakes tail, flies out of the nest past camera on left.  5:34PM RB Nuthatch honking, Hairy Woodpecker calling, then drumming.  5:36 PM People’s voices off to the voice by the meadow.  Just before 5:37 the owl returns from right hand side of the screen, lands facing back of nest cavity and settles her feathers around the four eggs.  Only thing that came near the nest while she was gone were a handful of small flying insects. I presume she was taking as potty break.  5:39 Loud laughter and squeals from the people.  5:42 Owl giving soft “whoop calls.”             6:01 PM All is quiet. The female gives one soft “whoop.”

Thus it was at the Great Gray Owl nest via webcam from Montana.

Posted by: atowhee | April 19, 2017


There’s a new book out exploring the theories on how beauty of appearance, or birdsong, is linked to the evolution of species.  elk in fogSure the elk’s antlers are a weapon, but they are also elegant.  And a male Pintail?  He’s nothing more than flying eye-candy, right?pint packPintail on far left, the less flashy Mallards on the right.

Posted by: atowhee | April 19, 2017


Not many would select the word “collegial” to describe the voracious Great Horned Owl, feared by most, beloved only by those too large for the bird’s appetite.  But today the Linfield College bird walk group happened on this fellow sleeping off a long night of hunting. Melanie Byers Jones sent me this shot from her cell phone:LINFLD OWLThese owls are early breeders and are already fledging young.  Sadly my wife and I found the corpse of a young GHO on a road in the foothills west of McMinnville recently.  Obviously the young bird had been hit by a vehicle.

Posted by: atowhee | April 18, 2017


6:10 PM Pacific Time  The brooding female owl begins series of high-pitched “whoop” calls with interval of half minute between each one.  RB nuthatch honking in distance.  Raven croaked past.  Wind is making the trees sway.   6:15 PM Robin whinnies repeatedly.  Owl facing toward camera, looking out of nest cavity. 6:18 OM Flicker begins a series of “sharp” calls.  Far off another flicker makes rattle call.  GGO still saying “whoop” while Raven croaks nearby and human sounds heard out by the meadow.  6:23 PM  The whoops continue.  6:30 PM Female owls does some tail feather preening. Then some on her belly, baring one of the eggs.  6:32 Still preening, now on her right side. 6:34 Now a series of low-pitched “hoo-hoo-hoo.”  She has been wide-eyes since I first tuned in to her camera.   Hunger?

Older Posts »


%d bloggers like this: